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HOW TO TALK TO YOUR FAMILY ABOUT YOUR MENTAL ILLNESS

It’s time to tell everyone who is dealing with a mental health issue that they’re not alone, and that getting support isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. ” – Michelle Obama

Talking to your family about your mental illness can be quite difficult for a number of times . Seeking mental health services are tough enough. If you’re in deep anxiety or depression, the family support could make a huge difference. But, to bring that huge difference in action, you must learn the art to talk to your family about the same.

Unfortunately , the shits like – “What will the people say “, or, “ What about the society “ , stand as a barrier making it tougher for those living with mental health issues to ask for support.

It’s very important to let your family know about your mental health issues. Also, it’s very important to eliminate the false believe that mental health problems are a sign of failure in career, life and happiness.

Sharing the struggles improve the rate of your mental health fitness. And so, below are some of the advices that I’d like to give you. These points will surely help you get the conversation started:-

1• Delete this idea- “What will others think” :

The first and most important point that you must fix inside your mind is that there’s nothing wrong in asking for help. People will come, judge your illness and go. There’s nothing that’s gonna change. You’ll be the same, your illness will also be the same.

So, you must learn to ask for help.

Keep in mind that successful people are not those who don’t go through any problem, rather those who are experts at getting help.

2• Speak on your behalf using the personal “I” :

If you speak from your personal “I” statements, the conversation will turn out easy. This will help the listener feel more of your emotions. And he/she will help you in receiving a healthy and proper support system.

According to my point of view this directness in sentences you’ll be using helps remove others’ impulse to speak about mental health in minimized form of suggestions.

For example :-
“ Darkness is scary” could become “ I’m scared of the darkness . “
Or
“ Failures are haunting “ could become “ I’m haunted of failures. “

Such changed forms of statements help the listener focus on supporting you in the best way they could.

3• Plan before hand :

Talking about mental illness can be scary for many of you. I know it’s tough but if you plan out the way you’d approach your family, it’s gonna help a lot. Instead of a sudden and unexpected conversation; which might catalyze nervousness; choose a time and place where you would be comfortable and plan whatever you want to share beforehand.

You can also take the help of internet; as in – do a mental health screening for the planning of the conversation.

4• Write a note if you can’t speak frankly:

You could also write a letter or note to your family if you’re not comfortable with a conversation. Today’s era is based on internet related technologies, so you could even E-mail any one of your family members explaining the problems you’re going through. A letter allows you to express what you want to pour out without the pressure of any nervousness to response.

5• If not once; try again :

I’m sure you must be aware of this famous line picked up from a poem – “ If you don’t succeed once, try try again! “
Apply the same formula here. It isn’t always a good time for you to have a conversation with your family/parents. If you feel like your words have been brushed off even before you try to ask for help; give it a second try.

This time if not involving yourself in a direct conversation with your family/parents, ask an aunt or an uncle to help you carry forward the conversation about how you’re feeling. You could even ask a trusted teacher or a school/college psychologist to help you out in reaching the words “at a serious note” to your parents/family

6• Create a healthy environment :

If you make the decision to talk with your family about your depression or anxiety then be sure about the comfort level. Set a comfortable environment for both yourself and your family members.

Some of the common elements to take on consideration while you share your traumas are:-
Location, Privacy and Time.

Location : It already requires a lot of strength to open up about your mental health issues. So, make sure that you don’t waste extra energy to get trapped to a location that arises discomfort. Choose a calm place with minimum noise level and maximum visual space . This week kl decrease the unwanted distractions.

Privacy: You are to be held responsible of how private you want the discussion/conversation to be. The places which I’d suggest are – A quiet room inside your home ; cause the family members including you would be most comfortable here.
Or, you could even choose a park or a restaurant according to your convenience.

Time : Set aside enough time in the process of discussion. Allow your family members to respond clearly and ask questions freely. Don’t limit the time in whatever location you choose. Cause, the longer conversation, the stronger the support system. Don’t pressure or stress out both parties to a short and confused conversation

7• Give your family time :

Remember, that your parents might not have any previous experience of mental illness you’re sharing with them. It might be that they’re also a bit confused about what to do or say. Don’t take it otherwise and implant the conclusion that they don’t want to help you out.
Hence, give them some time to understand and analyse your situation.

8• Don’t put it for tomorrow:

The sooner you approach your family for help, the sooner you’ll feel better. So, don’t just put the conversation off until tomorrow. Remember, – “ Tomorrow never comes! “
Share your fear now and reward yourself with a understanding company.

Real family are the people who support you look out for your happy being and accept you with your flaws . Real families are a jewel in disguise.
Get up, open up, begin the conversation, feel less alone and gain a big relief.

For more on gaining your family support in a relation with mental health visit the link mentioned below :-
https://www.talkspace.com/blog/therapists-guide-talking-friends-family-about-mental-health/

Author:- Komal Kumari from team invertedmirror.com

 

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